You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness.  You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.”  ~Erma Bombeck

Tatjana learning to swim

Tatjana learning to swim

4th of July weekend is one of my favorite celebrations, and I want all of you to party the Personal Chef Approach (PCA) way. Wouldn’t you rather be out enjoying all the festivities while resting assured your delicious, healthy, homemade meals will come together in a flash? Everything is bursting with flavor, and either prepped (ready to throw on the grill) or made in advance and served cold or at room temperature. Cooking just doesn’t get any easier than this, or more fun!

Grilled Menu copy

GRILL MENU: Simple Marinated Tuna, Jewels Turkey Jasmine Burgers, Lee’s Shuswamp Ribs, Fusion Flank Steak, Grilled Veal Chops, Grilled Moroccan Rubbed Leg of Lamb, Pineapple Teriyaki Tofu

Plus, the PCA makes it very easy to cook to everyone’s palate. For example, you can rub or marinate steaks for the adults and throw plain steaks or burgers on the grill for the kids. You could also make one marinade to use with several different types of proteins without any additional effort – just put each different protein in a separate bowl or baggie and pour equal amounts of the marinade into each one.

Simple Marinated Tuna

 Simple Marinated Tuna

Did you know you are entitled to sniff the fish for freshness before buying it? It should smell like the sea, not strong and fishy, if it is really fresh. While the color of raw Ahi tuna is red, it actually has a very mild flavor.

Servings: 4


24 ounces fresh Ahi tuna
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons honey
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste


1). Mix lemon zest, garlic, honey, lemon juice, and olive oil in a large bowl. Add tuna, turn a couple times to coat well, and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

2). Prepare a hot well oiled grill or grill pan.

3).  Remove tuna from the marinade, season with salt and pepper to taste, and grill 2-3 minutes on each side, or until you there is good color from the grill marks, but still rare in center.

Serving Suggestions: Serve with Green Bean & Olive Sauté or any side of choice.

Variations: For an Asian twist add 1 tablespoon soy sauce (omit salt), 1 tablespoon fresh ginger minced, and substitute olive oil for dark sesame oil.

Dijon Green Bean & Olive Saute

Dijon Green Bean & Olive Saute 

These tangy green beans are equally delicious served hot in winter as they are cold in summer. If you have finicky eaters in your household you can store mustard sauce separately and serve it on the side.

Servings: 4


4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 pound green beans, trimmed
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 ounce can sliced black olives, drained
1 tablespoon capers


1). Heat 1 tablespoon a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add broth and green beans, bring to boil, cover and cook until crisp-tender, about 4-5 minutes. Remove lid and continue to cook to evaporate liquid, another 2-3 minutes.

2). While beans are cooking, whisk together the mustard and vinegar. Slowly add the remaining olive oil while whisking continuously until nicely emulsifies. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3). Pour mustard sauce over the warm green beans, and stir in the olives and capers.

Serving Suggestions: Serve with Simple Marinated Tuna or any grill entree of choice.

Garlic Roasted Potato Salad

 Garlic Roasted Potato Salad

This is my personal favorite potato salad, and a client classic. Since you are making real mayonnaise, please be careful to keep it refrigerated. You can make it a day or two in advance, but do not keep it longer than a few days.

Servings: 4


2 pounds red potatoes, scrubbed with skins on (halved and quartered if necessary – should be bite size pieces)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons fresh Rosemary, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon grainy Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 large egg yolk
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 bunch scallions, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh Italian (flat leaf) parsley, chopped


1). Preheat oven to 425° F.

2). In a large bowl, toss the potatoes, garlic, rosemary and 3 tablespoons olive oil well to coat evenly. Spread onto a sheet pan and season with salt and pepper generously to taste. Roast in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, stirring midway, or until tender and nicely browned. Remove and cool completely.

3). In a large bowl, whisk together the mustard, lemon juice, cayene (if using) and egg yolk. Continue whisking while you add the 1/4 cup olive oil in a slow steady stream until the mayonnaise emulsifies. Add the cooled potatoes, scallions and parsley, and toss until completely coated and dispersed. Adjust seasonings.

Serving Suggestions: Serve with Lee’s Shuswamp Ribs, or any grilled entree of choice.

Side Dish Menu copy

SIDE DISHES MENU: Dijon Green Bean & Olive Sauté, Asian Graffiti Carrot Salad , Garlic Roasted Potato Salad, Sweet & Sour Green Beans with Onions, Pesto Vegetables, Curried Vegetable Couscous, Sweet & Sour Asparagus

The PCA can also help you broaden your culinary horizons like a pro. Remember, “if you can read – you can cook.” The ingredients and directions are all listed for you. I’ll even make it foolproof by giving you the grocery list and heat to eat instructions for these three recipes below, or you can join now and access all of the recipes on my 4th of July Grill & Sides Menu Plan along with over 300 other recipes….

Julie Anne Rhodes and friends

Have a safe and happy 4th of July!

… but first, tell me what you’re planning to make this weekend, and don’t forget to come back and let me know how the PCA worked for you in the comment section below? Watch this video to see more about how the Personal Chef Approach works.

These are all the ingredients you will need to make the recipes. Go through your pantry and fridge to see if you already have some of the ingredients and cross those off the list. If you are altering the recipes servings (fewer or double portions) you will need to make adjustments accordingly to this list. If you wish to make more meals, add those ingredients to the list, and anything else you need to stock your fridge and home, so you make just one organized trip to the store.

One-stop grocery shop

One-stop grocery shop

Grocery List


Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Cayenne pepper
1 can chicken or vegetable broth
White wine vinegar
Dijon mustard
1 4 ounce can sliced black olives


1 head of garlic
1 bunch scallions
Fresh Rosemary
Fresh Italian (flat leaf) parsley
3 lemons
1 pound green beans
2 pounds red potatoes


24 ounces fresh Ahi tuna


1/2 dozen eggs

Dinner's ready - just heat to eat!

Dinner’s ready!

Heat to Eat Instructions:

Simple Marinated Tuna: Vent lid of container and heat in microwave on 50% power for 3-5 minutes; or heat in a hot grill pan about 2-3 minutes per side. Serve with Green Bean & Olive Sauté: Serve cold, or vent lid of container and heat in microwave 1-2 minutes, and Garlic Roasted Potato Salad: Serve cold or at room temperature. Join the Personal Chef Approach today!

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